Dear Members,

By the time you read this, there will already be a new PPRA President. Longtime Board Member Nina Scimenes was inducted on June 5.

I, for one, will be looking forward to Nina's presidency and seeing her steer this Association for another 12 months.

Meanwhile, the small break between PPRA programming years provides an opportunity to reflect on some highlights from the past 12 months.
Most exciting to me is that PPRA is bigger than it used to be. Membership is up more than 10 percent over the same period last year. Seeing the PPRA community grow is extremely exciting -- especially considering the different options that exist for professional affiliation and development.
Thank you for trusting PPRA with your membership dollars.

PPRA's programs and events continued to provide valuable information and experiences to our members. There truly was something for everyone on our event calendar -- media panels with print and broadcast reporters, fun happy hours at trendy venues, panels on social media and crisis communications and, of course, an amazing trip to New York City that saw members visit 30 Rock and the New York Times building.  Thank you for attending our programs -- especially knowing how busy you are.

I will always be proud -- make that #PPRAProud -- of the good works that we did.  The more than 1,000 books donated to Tree House Books to help promote literacy in low-income neighborhoods. An additional $3,000 that was donated to the special needs fund to help PPRA member Mary Salisbury, who was paralyzed just weeks into her first full-time PR job. All of the personal care toiletries that were dropped off at Bonnie Grant's Hall of Fame Luncheon so that the Broad Street Ministry could donate these items to people in need in our own community.

Then there are our college relations programs -- Networking 101 and Careers 101. I treasured the opportunity to spend time around the college students who someday will become active PPRA members and Association leaders.

To every PPRA member who served on the college relations committee or gave time to network with students, review resumes or donate a coffee meeting or shadow day....THANK YOU for making a difference.

I am grateful to the PPRA Hall of Famers -- especially those of you who visited our board meetings or found a way to be active in the Association in some way. Your decades long dedication to PPRA is one of the coolest parts of the Association.

PPRA Sponsors who provided much of the resources that made our programming possible, thank you! That we were able to host a national figure such as Tarana Burke at our Annual Meeting Celebration speaks volumes about the generosity of our professional colleagues.

Finally, thank you, as well, to the amazing PPRA Board. Your tireless work is the engine that powers the Association. Nina Scimenes, Deirdre Hopkins, Bill Wedo, Jaime Martorana, Hope Corse, Kellsey Turner, Anthony Stipa, Darrah Pillieri, Sarah Maiellano, and Gary Bramnick: You all rocked.
A special thanks to the four Past Presidents who serve on the PPRA Board: Chris Lukach, Dr. Bill Cowen, Meredith Z. Avakian and Ashley Berke. Your counsel has proven invaluable.

Thank you to the staff of Neff & Downing Management Services: PPRA Executive Director Denise Downing and her colleagues Kevin Downing and Lauren LaPointe. This team does so much behind the scenes and makes PPRA run smoothly.

Finally, thank you PPRA for allowing me to serve as your president for the past year. It was an experience I will never forget.
Have a great summer!

2017-2018 President
Philadelphia Public Relations Association
A special annual meeting capped a special year
PPRA calls it an Annual Meeting Celebration and this year's event more than lived up to its name. We celebrated the past year's accomplishments, an outgoing board and a new board taking the helm. We celebrated the recipients of the Fast Track and Dr. Jean Brodey Achievement Awards and our PRoactive partnership with Tree House books. 

And, then there was Tarana Burke. The 'me too.'  movement founder, a powerful speaker (and quite funny) who helped everyone celebrate the hope for true change in how we treat each other. But, see for yourself, with more scenes from the celebration 

See more on Events page  and  Twitter  and Facebook  posts.
Beth Lawrence, President & CEO of Beth Lawrence LLC, recently placed her client, Lucha Cartel, in an article in BillyPenn focused on the growing Latin Dance scene in Philadelphia.

The Kimmel Center's Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) -- featuring performers hailing from France, South Korea, Zimbabwe, Egypt, and more -- secured extensive local coverage. One PIFA show, a 360-degree immersive event on the banks of the Schuylkill River called Cristal Palace, was documented by an exclusive 'ride' in the human chandelier (Billy Penn live tweeted the experience!). The center is averaging at least one story per day, including the cover of ICON Magazine and Visit Philly's top list.

Visit Bucks County hosted its Spring in-market event in Washington, D.C., where it brought 3,000 pieces of free ice cream to residents and employees in Franklin Square Park to promote the  'Bucks County Ice Cream Trail!' Passersby also received copies of the food and beverage magazine, Well Seasoned, and had a chance to win a prize from an attraction Visit Bucks County published the sixth and final video in its " Bucks County is My Home " series on YouTube highlighting PBS Antique Roadshow host, Noel Barrett. The quick video was produced by Ryan Mancuso and National Geographic videographer Bob Krist. 

Two PPRA Hall of Famers -  Danielle  Cohn and Cathy Engel Menendez - have created the Dr. Jean Brodey Endowed Scholarship Fund. For 28 years, Brodey was a beloved public relations professor at Temple University. Brodey was inducted into the PPRA Hall of Fame in 1998. Menendez and Cohn have contributed more than half of the needed costs. A total of $50,000 must be raised to establish the fund. Menendez and Cohn are just $8,000 away from their goal. The scholarship will be intended for advertising and public relations students in financial need. Donations can be made at .

Debbie Albert, principal at Albert Communications, will be speaking at the PA ACE (American Council of Education) Women's Network Conference in June on "Owning your career as a seasoned professional" and why she left her corporate job to open her own firm.  She'll be sharing information on building a consulting practice, ways to maximize personal and professional networks, and the importance of listening to good advice.

For the second consecutive year, PPRA Hall of Famer David W. Brown  received the Klein College of Media and Communication Faculty Service Award for service within and beyond the Temple University community, where he is a faculty member.  In addition, David was one of the leaders selected to participate in MSNBC's live Town Hall Meeting, "Everyday Racism in America," which was filmed and broadcasted nationally from Philadelphia on the day all 8,000 Starbucks stores closed for racial bias training following the wrongful arrest of two African American men at a Philadelphia Starbucks store. David led a racial reconciliation discussion the next morning at that Starbucks location while having a commentary on the topic published by WHYY.

Former PPRA President and current AKCG President Christopher Lukach, APR, recently accepted Rowan University's 2018 Distinguished Alumnus Award at the university's commencement ceremony. The award, which honors alumni who exemplify Rowan's tradition of excellence, symbolizes Lukach's years of service to the South Jersey and Philadelphia communities, as well as the public relations industry. S ince 2004, Lukach has not only helped shape the region's public relations industry, but the business community at large. Lukach continues to give back to both his alma mater and industry and is involved with several professional organizations and advisory councils.  

SPRYTE Communications worked with Episcopal Community Services to spotlight the social service agency's slate of National Volunteer Week programs, including a series of five "Volunteer Spotlight" blogs, each focusing on the efforts of outstanding individual ECS volunteers that appeared each day during National Volunteer Week.
Win an award? Speaking on a panel? Landed an amazing media hit? 
Email us your good news at or tweet us using #PPRAProud.


Each year,  our PRoactive program allows members to lend their time and talents as public relations professionals to a new nonprofit partner. This year we're helping literacy-advocate Tree House Books. You can support our PRoactive partner by making a new or gently used book donation by emailing

New faces have joined PPRA. Make sure to say hello if you see them at one of our next events!
  • Colleen Chase, Power Home Remodeling
  • Tara Doherty
  • Ashley Flear
  • Jade Henley
  • Eric Nzeribe, FunTimes Magazine
  • Paula Ward, Radian


Your dream career could be a few clicks away. Visit PPRA's Job Bank for more details on the following positions:  
  • Public Relations Coordinator, The Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Account Executive, Devine + Partners
  • Senior Associate, Ceisler Media
  • Associate Director Media Relations, University of Pennsylvania
  • Senior Account Executive, Braithwaite Communications
  • Account Supervisor, Braithwaite Communications
Have a job you want to promote in the Job Bank to reach nearly 300 PR professionals in the area?  Click here to post your job !